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The Drunken Peasants at the Table. Etching. 17.4 x 22.5 cm. Hollstein 10 II.
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A group of ragged peasants has gathered around a table in the open air for a feast. They are having a jolly time and drinking and smoking with gusto. The man sat on the right is holding a gnawed leg of roast meat in his hand, while a table companion on the left has overindulged himself and is vomiting. Some of the men are barefoot, while others sport exotic feather caps. They look more like good-for-nothings than respectable peasants who diligently work their fields. The good-humoured scene is depicted in a deft, nonchalant drawing style.
The author of this down-to-earth portrayal, the painter and etcher Andries Both, was born the son of Dirck Both, a glass painter in Utrecht, about 1611/12. Having first been taught by his father, he was apprenticed to Abraham Bloemaert in 1624. Before departing for Italy with his brother around 1633 he was already an established artist, as is evidenced by the paintings and drawings he produced in this period. Both brothers specialised in the peasant genre and, when in Rome, painted scenes from everyday Italian life in the manner of the Bamboccianti. Andries’ printed oeuvre comprising just a few prints is rare. His etchings date to the period before he left for Rome; in stylistic terms they are very close to those of the Utrecht master Joost Cornelis Droochsloot (1586–1666).
Andries Both never returned to the Netherlands. Having lived and worked with his brother as a painter in Rome for a few years, he is reported by Sandrart to have drowned in Venice in the early 1640s (see E. de Jongh, G. Luijten, Spiegel van Alledag. Nederlandse genreprenten 1550–1700, Amsterdam 1997, no. 48, p. 241 ff.).
A very fine, tonal impression with thread margins. Occasional thin paper spots verso, otherwise in perfect condition.